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Peter Grimes

Photo: Thor Brødreskift

What makes an entire society condemn a single individual?

Where do gossip and unfounded rumours originate that develop into ‘the truth’? The experience is a powerful and emotional one when the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen National Opera and four choirs join forces to perform Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes concert.

Peter Grimes, a fisherman in a village on the east coast of England, experiences the wrath of the townsfolk when one of his apprentices dies during an accident at sea. When the same thing happens to the next apprentice, his close friend, the teacher Ellen Orford, also loses faith in him. Peter Grimes is an opera that raises more questions than answers. Was Peter to blame for the death of these boys? That question is never answered, but this is not the focus of the story either.

Montagu Slater wrote the libretto, inspired by Georg Crabbe’s collection of poetry The Borough from 1810.

This concert version was first performed in 2017 in collaboration with the Bergen International Festival and Bergen National Opera. It was also performed at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2017 and the Royal Festival Hall in London will be the next venue for the performance after Oslo. The title role is sung by tenor Stuart Skelton, one of the leading interpreters of this role today. Other contributors are the Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Edvard Grieg Choir, Royal Northern College of Music Choir and Collegium Musicum Choir.

  • Free introduction 30 minutes before the concert

Artistic team and roles

  • Music
    Benjamin Britten
  • Libretto
    Montagu Slater
  • Conductor
    Edward Gardner
  • Chorus master
    Håkon Matti Skrede
  • Design
    Vera Rostin Wexelsen
  • Chorus
    Bergen Philharmonic Chorus, Edvard Grieg Chorus, Royal Northern College of Music Choir, Collegium Musicum Chorus
  • Orchestra
    Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra


Peter Grimes: Stuart Skelton
Ellen Orford: Erin Wall
Captain Balstrode: Roderick Williams
Auntie: Susan Bickley
Mrs Sedley: Catherine Wyn-Rogers
First Niece: Hanna Husáhr
Second Niece: Vibeke Kristensen
Swallow: Neal Davies
Ned Keene: Marcus Farnsworth
Bob Boles: Robert Murray
Reverend Horace Adams: James Gilchrist
Hobson: Barnaby Rea